Tony Stewart finished the Daytona 500 Sunday two spots from last place, but the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver/owner did not let the disappointment get the best of him. He went, instead, to visit fans that were injured Saturday night when rookie Kyle Larson’s car went airborne as Stewart won the NASCAR Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Stewart, who expressed concern for the injured fans immediately after the race, tried to keep the visit private but word got out via Twitter Monday afternoon and the visit was confirmed by a SHR spokesman who said the former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion spent two hours at a local hospital.
Stewart won the Drive for COPD Nationwide race Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway as a violent crash unfolded behind him, resulting in injuries to 28 fans. Parts of Larson’s car went into the spectator area after penetrating the catch fence.
Members of the media who have interviewed Stewart know he can be abrasive, especially if he is asked the same question multiple times or asked a question that the driver does not feel needs answered. His generosity of time and money, however, is legendary. Although he often prefers to keep visits such as this private, word tends to leak from those involved.
The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion’s disappointment with the way the Daytona 500 ended was obvious in his statement after the race.
“The h*** with the season; I wanted to win the Daytona 500,” said Stewart when queried about how this finish affected his championship point standing. “We had a car that we could pass with today. We were passing cars by ourselves. I was happy with our car, just waiting for it to all get sorted out again. I don’t know what started it, but we just got caught up in another wreck.”
Stewart and the other NASCAR drivers will head next to Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500. Stewart’s teammates, Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman, both had top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500. Newman finished fifth and Patrick crossed the finish line eighth.